Former San Jose motel to become housing for transitional foster youth

The former Pavilion Inn was, until its closing, a basic motel sandwiched by two major freeways in North San Jose. In less than a year, it could be the first step toward a stable life for teens transitioning from foster care.

"If you’re a transitional-aged youth, and you’re looking for housing, you’re couch-surfing, you’re in a bad housing environment right now, take advantage of it," said Jocelyn Arenas.

A former foster youth in Santa Clara County, she took the plunge with her son, and landed a two-bedroom spot at a similar project through the Bill Wilson Youth Center.

A little over a year ago, the City of San Jose, Santa Clara County, and various social agencies, such a Jamboree Housing Corp, partnered on a $32M make-over of the Pavilion. The 43 rooms will be remodeled into 39 efficiency and one-bedroom apartments.

"That is such an at-risk population, where we in California can have such an impact, by providing housing to these folks. We’re really excited about it," said Laura Archuleta, president & CEO of Jamboree Housing Corp.

Multiple supportive services will be on-site, including a first-floor work force development center.

"People really need something affordable that can help them transition their way into a better paying job so that they go on to find a market-rate unit," said Arenas.

The housing strain not only hurts adults, but kids too. The California Coalition for Youth says family abuse, neglect, and breakdown has produced nearly two and a half million unhoused youths. Many of those are transitioning out of foster care, with no clear path forward.

"We cannot have our young people go from a safety net to homelessness. So if this gap in the bridge to them having stable housing, that is always needed for these young people to thrive," said Jevon Wilkes, executive director of the California Coalition for Youth. "Youth are more likely to succeed when they have stable housing. That’s for sure."

Officials said the renovation work won’t be completed until Summer 2024.

They believe this latest step represents small but continued progress on the long road to providing stable housing for those in need.

"Take advantage of it. Because before you know it, the units are gone. This is great, this is amazing, but they’re so scarce," said Arenas.

Jesse Gary is a reporter based in the station's South Bay bureau. Follow him on X (formerly Twitter), @JesseKTVU and on Instagram, @jessegontv